Dumb Pump Question!

Hey guys, I am obviously a newbie here. I having been browsing profiles the past few days and I notice that an alarmingly high percent of members are using an insulin pump. No one in my family (at least not that I know of) uses a pump. I just want to know more about it and the websites I’ve surfed seem pretty crappy in explaining the day to day life of a pump user. Basically some questions I’ve been pondering are: Isn’t it bulky and difficult to carry around? Is it on you 24/7? Can you wear it in the shower/pool/ocean/lake/all water? Doesn’t it ever get ripped out (I work with kids that are always crawling all over me and squirming around my lap)? What are the basics of how it works? Thanks for any info. you guys have, I know I sound like an id-jut (idiot :slight_smile: ) but I am very curious!

Oh and one more question, and this one is kind of embarassing! I have been looking at the google images of people with pumps and it looks like they are always hooked to peoples pants, now what do you do in a naked situation like when you’re in the shower (if you can even wear it in the shower)? Thanks guys!

I had all of the same questions when considering the pump 8 years ago. Embarrassing questions that I finally found a pump-wearer to answer. Like what about when you’re naked, when you pee, when you have sex…etc? The best I can tell you is that after a few weeks, you hardly notice it’s actually ON your body. There are times when you’re wearing a certain kind of outfit that you have to stop and imagine a new place to clip it. Several times while naked, I’ve tried to clip it to my ponytail (doesn’t work) or I’ve tried to clip it on a towel around me (which pulls off your towel and you are now naked). It weighs about the same as a cell phone. Doesn’t tug on your skin or anything. Most of the time, you can’t feel the insertion site.

The reality of it is that it becomes like wearing a watch. If your pump is not waterproof (like the minimed), you take it off to shower or swim. If it is, you clip it to your bathing suit. When you’re naked, you can just keep it near you. Most of the time, it’s second nature. You’ll just grab for it and take it wherever you’re going. If I don’t have it on when I go to the bathroom (maybe I’m between site changes or something), I’ve found myself moving the invisible cord out of the way. Sometimes your cord gets in the way. But then again, sometimes your jewelry can snag on a piece of clothing. You don’t think about wearing your watch or your wedding band all day, right? You only notice it when you need to fiddle with it or when it catches on something.

Sleeping is easy. Some people are comfortable putting their pump on the nightstand while they sleep. Others, like me, clip it on clothes (pajama pants!). Bathrobes have pockets, too. I often just toss the pump into bed next to me and don’t think a thing of it until I dig for it under the covers to take my breakfast bolus. Other things that happen in bed are just as easy. You can wear the pump, toss it to one side, disconnect for a little bit, or roll right over it. You’re not going to tear out the setting easily. Around kids, just be careful when picking them up and putting them on your hip if it’s clipped on your jeans or something.

You do wear it all the time and can disconnect for short periods of time (like 30-80min maybe) at your own discretion. There is no needle in your body. You insert it with a needle and leave a tiny catheter. You rotate the insertion site every three days. That’s the basics. I’m sure others will post more for you. Your questions aren’t dumb. They’re totally legit.

I had to start pumping because when I was doing MDI my injection sites were getting really sore and I was getting too much scar tissue. I started right at the end of May and I highly doubt I will go back to MDI.

Yes, I do wear it 24/7 and it takes some getting used to. You have to be mentally ready for it, which is why I went 15 years with MDI before switching. A year ago I wasn’t ready for it…but this year I was. I’m enjoying it more because I don’t have to worry about giving a shot every time I want to eat something and I don’t have to worry about taking an insulin pen and a needle with me every time I go out to eat or something. My mom was amazed on the 4th of July when we decided to eat some cookies in afternoon and all I had to do was push a button and then I could eat. There was no getting out the insulin and injecting myself. It was awesome.
It is a little bulky sometimes but I don’t mind it. I just tuck the tube into my pants and either wear it clipped to my waistband or put it in my pocket (if I have one). People don’t seem to notice it too much. If I’m wearing a dress or skirt, I bought a “'pump pouch” to wear either around my waist or around my upper thigh.
Some pumps are waterproof/resistant, but mine is not (I have a Paradigm 522). So I just unhook it to take a shower or swim. I’ve read from some people who have the longer tubing and they hang it up while they’re in the shower so it’s not in the water and then they don’t have to take it off. But I like the shorter tubing so I can’t pull that off.
When I sleep I strap it around my leg. I’ve found that this is the easiest. I tried it on the back side of my pants, but then it dug into my back during the night. So I started strapping it to my leg with my holder and it’s been great. I don’t even feel it anymore.

I’m not sure if that answered any of your questions or not…but don’t feel stupid or anything for asking. That’s what we’re here for! I was curious, too, about it all so i went to my CDE and she explained most of it to me and then people on here answered a lot of questions, too…stuff she was vague on or didn’t really know because she didn’t have any personal experience with wearing a pump (i.e. wearing it in the shower…to bed…etc…).

Feel free to keep asking questions…again, that’s what we’re here for!!

No question is a dumb question! Especially here! : ) When I first went on the pump, I had to ask a close friend all the nudity-related pump questions. Like Melissa said, you can take it off for short periods of time.
First and foremost, your partner may be curious about the thing dangling from your stomach. Just be honest, most people will understand. If your partner isn’t cool with it, give 'em the boot. ; )
But seriously, I would tuck mine under my pillow, or disconnect it and place it on my nightstand. Just be careful of the whole falling asleep afterward thing.
While on the pump there were a few times I’d get the tubing hooked on a doorknob, and there was the one time I pulled a pump set out in my sleep, so I’ve decided to stick to injections just because I’m so accident prone. I’m no longer on the pump due to a skin allergy to the tape, but I actually prefer the freedom of injections. Then again, I’m an oddity.

There are no dumb questions. It’s always tough to separate the reality of a pump from the sales pitch that you always hear from manufacturers, web sites, even perhaps your doctors. You sound a lot like me just before I got my pump two years ago. I had the same concerns as you.

At first, I kept the pump in my pants pocket, but it was a bit awkward, especially since I keep all kinds of stuff in my pockets (wallet, keys, cell phone…) and it gets kind of bulky; especially with tighter pants. Also, I alternate using both the right and left sides of my abdomen, so the pump moves as well, meaning my “usual” pockets for keys and wallets would also have to move. Now I generally use a belt pouch made for a cell phone that I bought on the streets of NYC for $5. It covers up the front so no one sees the bright blue button and other peculiar features of the pump. The tubing sticks out where the cell phone antenna would go.

Your more “traditional” pumps are either the Minimed Paradigm (which I use), Animas, Deltec Cozmo, or Accu-Chek Spirit (formerly Disetronic). These consist of a pager-size pump and a length of tubing that connects to an infusion set. The infusion set basically consists of a flexible tube (cannula) stuck tightly around an “introducer” needle. You stick yourself with the needle, then pull the needle out and the cannula stays in for 2-3 days. You can use whatever type of insulin works best; you pull it from a standard vial and fill a reservoir (essentially a 180-or-so unit syringe) that sits in the pump. The precise motor in the pump pushes the plunger to deliver the desired amount of insulin. The Omnipod works a little differently; there is a “pod” which contains essentially the insulin, infusion set, and mechanics of the pump which sticks to your body, then a wireless “controller” device that you use to interface with it. There’s no awkward tubing, but I’m told the pod can be quite large, and I’d imagine expensive.

Away from the techie stuff and on to the real stuff…
I keep it on me most of the time. I disconnect when I shower and during (what MiniMed refers to as) “intimate moments”. Unlike the older infusion sets which may leave some short tubing exposed when disconnected , I use the Silouhette, which is pretty much flush against the skin, almost like a nicotine patch.

I haven’t solved the swimming issue yet (so far I’ve disconnected when swimming, but that was just in my parents’ backyard where anything I needed was nearby). I’m told that they “should” be waterproof, but manufacturers no longer guarantee that because cracks or improper usage might allow water to seep in. Some will swim with an unprotected pump anyway, I don’t take that chance.

Minimed makes a “Sport Pack” which is waterproof and impact resistant. Only problem with that is that it’s a brick – about the size of two cassette-tape cases. Other than the day I picked up the mail and opened the package, I’ve never used it. Others swear by the Aquapac, which is made for iPods and other electronics, but the company has made it clear that they don’t recommend that use (click here). I’d be curious to hear what others have done, as I haven’t done as much research as I should.

I have never had it ripped out, but I’ve had some close calls, and if you feel any discomfort, it’s a good idea to change the infusion site. I always tape a “loop” of tubing to my skin a few inches away from the infusion site, so if the tubing gets pulled on, it pulls at the tape, not at the actual site.

That’s the bad stuff. The good stuff is easy to find, and there’s plenty of it. But nobody was able to convince me to switch until my dietician (who’s also T1 and uses the pump) showed me what it does and how it works. I could now lower a BG of 140 with a fraction of a unit without risk of going too low. My dawn phenomenon (sudden spike in BG in the morning) was awful, and I could program the p

Animas pumps are waterproof. That’s one of the big reasons I went with them. I bring my pump in the shower, and set it in the soap dish. If I go swimming, I just clip it to by bikini bottoms.

Like the others said, after a couple of weeks, you forget it’s there. It’s totally worth it. I was on MDI for 26 years, and once I finally got my pump, I wished I hadn’t waited so long. It’s not for everyone, but most people love them and prefer them, and I’m one of those people.

I have been on a MM pump for over 15 years. Anyday I choose, I could go back to MDI.
…NO thanks…
Wishing you more…Peace Bob


There is no such thing as a stupid question…

I just started doing MDI’s in January and I started using the OmniPod; I know it’s not a traditional pump but I had to answer the question. I decided to use this product because it’s wireless and for the most part NOBODY knows you have it on unless you wear a TIGHT shirt. I have a 2 year old and she doesn’t bother Polly (pod). She watches me change them, My husband helps me change POD’s, it’s not bulky you change them (pods) every 3 days…I love it!

I know for sure I wouldn’t go back to MDI’s…

I am glad you asked.
One of my biggest fears before getting the pump was catching the tubing on a door handle or having the kids rip it out when we were all playing together. In 2 years it has only happened once. During the day I wear my pump in my bra- all of the tubing is inside my clothing and protected from little hands that grab and climb.

At night I have a garder that I clip it to during the summer and I have put a pocket in all of my PJs for the winter months. My husband is still a little afraid of the tubing when the mood strikes- so I just disconnect for the 3 min–ops I mean 4 hours :-).

Showers and swimming – I just disconnect- When I am at the beach I do put the pump in a sock and out of the sun, just to make sure sand doesn’t get to it and the insulin does not get over heated when I am frolicking in the surf. I have heard that some people will bolus .3-.5 before disconnecting to make sure they keep even during their shower or for a swim-- but that is all dependent of how sensitive you are.

Like a cell phone… I sleep with mine under my pillow. It;s are changing from something that works to something that works better. The pump is a great thing for me. Do your research.


Like Melissa said it is like wearing a watch. I clip my Minimed to my shorts when i sleep and have had zero issues with sleeping right on top of it. A couple of time I have had the tubing get caught on doors that have handles vs. a door knob but I have yet to actually rip it out. In fact the tubing has save my pump from hitting the ground as well. The tubing is so tough that one day after changing my set I tied one end down and stretched it around 12 feet and pulled like hell to make it break! Once you get a pump and wear it for a month you will forget that you are even hooked up to it. I know it can feel overwhelming at first but it becomes second nature. I have a co-worker who’s husband is type 1 and he got a pump. He hated it and was very frustrated in the beginning trying to get everything adjusted properly, in fact he wanted to return it. Well I happy to report that he now loves it and he can’t believe that he has been giving himself shots for 20 years.

Good luck-Dave

Hey Victoria! I have an Animas 2020.It is called that because the display background is black but all the letters and numbers are white.It is especially good for diabetics whose vision is poor.It works by programming the settings.Your health provider will do that.You basically have to know the amount of carbs in food.You type in the number and hit “go” and it automatically figures out how much insulin you need and the pump will deliver it…It will take into account how much insulin is still active in your body so hypoglycemia doesn’t happen.My pump also has a database of foods with the amount of carbs so that I can be accurate.You program it on your computer.I went on the Animas 2020 this February and wouldn’t have it any other way.The pump is very small and unnoticeable in most occasions.You can put it in a pocket or a waistband.Some of the ladies clip it to their bra.The Animas 2020 is waterproof so going into a pool is okay.Good luck on your choosing a pump.Let us know when it happens!

You took me by surprise!..had me laughing out loud!

Hey Victoria…are you sick of me, yet? Did I tell you how helpful and knowledgeable they are here, or what? I know that hearing all this info might have you more confused than ever at your stage of the game, but if you need to be, you will be so on top of it by the time you are diagnosed!
MDI= multiple daily injections
CDE= certified diabetes educator
If you do end up in our shoes, you will be made crazy by your family’s history. They will all be coming to you for info, or you will be making them crazy trying to get them to take care of themselves.
I appreciated your question and all the great answers as I am not on the pump, yet. Maybe we can go through that adventure together.

PS When I was at Eagle, they pushed the Pardigm Minimed. My endo here uses the Omnipod…don’t know how that works…if you can go with another pump than who the office has a relationship with.

It depends… I know my office gave me the choice but they made it clear they were most familiar with Minimed. I went with the Cozmo, still glad I made my own decision there.

none of these are dumb questions. I know most of us were somewhat nervous when we first started pumping and didn’t know precisely how to fit our pumps into the rest of our lives. I wound up buying half a dozen different pump case solutions at first and now I stick it in my pocket more often than not. I have baby socks safety pinned into most of my sleep shorts so that they don’t get too far away when I sleep. The one thing that is tricky as a girl is what to do when you’re wearing a skirt or dress - I would recommend the “Thigh-Thing” from Unique Accessories. You can buy it through their website http://www.uniaccs.com/ or through the Animas store when you buy infusion sets (www.animascorp.com) and it’s free shipping if you buy from Animas with other pump stuff. I’ve heard people also use this for sleeping as well.
PS: if you want to see some of the solutions I’ve tried for carrying my pump, I have a Flickr album with photos of things I’ve tried. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarah_e_soper/sets/72157600412098310/
Best of luck!


Whenever I’ve looked at cellphone cases like the ones in your pictures, I could never figure out how to secure them so they wouldn’t be swinging all over the place. Do you just put your belt through the wrist strap? Also, I’ve gotten the satin garter pump pockets from pumpwearinc.com and they’ve stayed in place pretty well. My thighs are kind of on the thinner side too. They have a bunch of other products there that seem good, but the $$$ adds up to buy a bunch of stuff - and there’s always the concern that it’ll be wasted if the product doesn’t work for you, like those ones you didn’t care for, Sarah. I’ve found all kinds of websites that sell ones that I’d like to try, but I haven’t had the most awesome luck when I’ve done that. I love the Clip-n-Go. I have 6 different colors. I wish they had a wider color selection because I’d buy more and wear them with everything.

Hi there!, those are the same question that I made myself before getting into de pump!. and believe me, this is the great best thing that could happend to me!. I am using the medtronic 715, and I can disconnect when I take a shower, when I go to the pool or beach, when you have sex, and all that. It’s not bulki, you can find the way were to wear it, I put it on my bra with a clip, also I can wear it on my pants, the same as a beeper of phone. I asure you that it will no more ridiculous to use as the phone that people wear on their ear!, that is bulky!. The only thing that will connected into your body is a super short needle, that you need to change every 3 days ussually, they have different types of needles for that, so your representative can show you all that. Ohh, and also, you dont need to carry all the needles and insulin, or in another case the insulin pen and inject yourself everytime you want to eat, the pump give you the exactly amount for the food that you are going to eat. I hope this help. See you, Aida.

Sarah and Lee Ann, thanks for the case recommendations. I, too, have spent money on cases that were ultimately annoying and have never found one I was happy with, so I normally just use the slim belt clip that comes standard.

I bought the sports case/water guard for my first minimed back in 2000 - didn’t work worth crap. I tried wearing my pump on just a regular garter once under a formal gown during a concert where I was the soloist. As I sang, I felt it slipping down my leg. When I finally walked off stage, I had to do a funny kind of shimmy because it was hanging around my ankle.

I’ve just submitted my Rx for my first Cozmo and am interested to see what case options are out there because of the cozmonitor/no-native-clip issue. I’ll check those out.